THOUSANDS of motorcycles are escaping detection by speed cameras because they don’t have a front registration plate – but a new weapon in the police arsenal is set to change that. Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail show in the last year 2062 motorcycles were unable to be identified despite being caught on mobile and fixed speed cameras travelling well in excess of the limit. The problem has long irked police who report motorcyclists speeding up when a mobile camera is in sight, because they know they will only be photographed from the front.
In one case, a motorcyclist was snapped doing 171km/h in a 100km/h zone and in another the rider was photographed at 102km/h in a 50 zone.
Another image not released to The Courier-Mail, showed a motorcyclist giving “the finger” to the speed camera as he rode by.
But TruCAM devices are changing the enforcement landscape by allowing police to read a vehicle’s speed from the front, then video it from behind if necessary.
First trialled in late-2011, the QPS now has 44 of the handheld cameras in use with up to 35 operational at any one time across the state.
Already the devices are achieving a significantly higher detection rate than traditional methods, thought to be as a result of their motorcycle-friendly nature.
QPS data showed in the 12-months to June 30, TruCAMs detected 13.83 offences per hour of operation, compared with covert vehicles which snapped 7.89 offences an hour and mobile speed camera vans which recorded 4.03 offences an hour.
Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns said their position was motorcyclists should not be immune from detection.
“However it should not be up to riders to retrofit equipment (front number plates) for this purpose,” Mr Mearns said.
He also stressed that unenforceable photographs taken by speed cameras were not only a motorcycle issue.
“If you searched the number of both front and rear motorcycle photos I believe you will find that almost as many rear taken photos fail,” said Mr Mearns.
“Additionally, there is a considerable amount of other vehicles that escape detection because of unenforceable photos.”
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said TruCAMS were a great road safety tool and gave officers more freedom to enforce the speed limit.
Transport and Main Roads’ data for the 12-months to May shows 51 people were killed in speed related crashes, nine fewer than the previous year.
In the same period, 54 motorcyclists died in road crashes, up six per cent on the 12-months before, but down 11 per cent on the previous five-year average.